409 East High Street>
Albemarle County Jail, 409 East High Street, Charlottesville, VA
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409 East High Street, VA
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS VA-1349
Unprocessed field note material exists for this structure (N643).
Building/structure dates: 1876 initial construction
Building/structure dates: 1880 subsequent work
Building/structure dates: 1886 subsequent work
Significance: The Ablemarle County Jail, located one block north of Charlottesville's Courthouse Square, was constructed to replace an earlier jail building which was located on Courthouse Square directly west of the courthouse building. The two story stone building was constructed in 1876 with stones taken from the earlier jail. The brick annex and jail yard was added in 1880 and the jailer's residence added in 1886. Charlottesville architect George Wallace Spooner designed and built the stone jail and the jailer's house while the architect of the brick annex is unknown. The jail was the site where former Charlottesville mayor Samuel McCue was held in 1905 after being tried and convicted for the murder of his wife, as well as being the site of McCue's subsequent execution by hanging, the last legal hanging in the state of Virginia. This accretion of buildings stands as a complete picture of the evolution of penitentiary facilities from the middle part of the nineteenth century into the twentieth century. The Ablemarle County Sheriff's Department has owned and maintained the jail complex since its construction. This facility served as the only penitentiary in Albemarle County until 1974 when a new penitentiary was constructed south of Charlottesville. The jail complex has been used as a storage facility for the County since it closed in 1974.
Spooner, George Wallace
McCue, Mayor. Samuel
Smith, Lisa Ann, Delineator
Fay, Daniel Wilson, Delineator
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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